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2024 In-Person Paper Exam: 

The Operator Certification program will be hosting in-person exam sessions in 2024. Exams will be held throughout the state roughly two days each month beginning in March 2024. Once dates and locations are finalized, more information about the in-person paper exams and updated exam application forms can be found on the Operator Certification Exams Page under the DNR Applications tab within the DNR In-Person Paper Exam Application Forms subsection.

Wisconsin DNR's Operator Certification program will no longer be hosting computer-based exams. The last day computer-based exams will be facilitated at PSI testing locations will be February 28, 2024, after which Wisconsin DNR will no longer be affiliated with WPI and PSI's computer-based exams.

Operator Certification will no longer be accepting exam applications for computer-based exams. After February 28, 2024, any exam applicant who has already submitted an application form and fees for computer-based exams but has not yet scheduled their exam date will be granted an exam fee credit and asked to submit a new DNR exam application form for an in-person paper exam session. If you have any questions, please contact

Beginning in March 2024, all Operator Certification exams will be in-person paper exams coordinated and facilitated by Wisconsin DNR staff. Exams will be held approximately two days per month roughly eight months per year. Each exam date will include two three-hour exam sessions beginning at 9am and 1pm.

Exam application forms with all 2024 dates can be found by selecting the Exam Applications tab.

Date Exam Location Exam Postmark Deadline
03/26/2024 La Crosse 03/05/2024
04/03/2024 Plover 03/13/2024
04/04/2024 Eau Claire 03/14/2024
05/08/2024 Madison 04/17/2024
05/09/2024 Green Bay 04/18/2024
06/05/2024 Hayward 05/08/2024
06/06/2024 Waukesha 05/09/2024
06/12/2024 Fennimore 05/15/2024
07/09/2024 Rhinelander 06/11/2024
07/10/2024 Madison 06/12/2024
08/13/2024 Hayward 07/16/2024
08/14/2024 Plover 07/17/2024
09/11/2024 Eau Claire 08/14/2024
09/12/2024 Waukesha 08/15/2024
10/02/2024 Rhinelander 09/04/2024
10/03/2024 Green Bay 09/05/2024
12/03/2024 Madison 11/05/2024
12/04/2024 Plover 11/06/2024

Ch. NR 114, 146, 499, and 524 Wis. Adm. Code require an individual to pass one or more exams in order to become a certified operator or license holder. These exams are provided on paper in-person by Wisconsin DNR staff throughout the year in different locations throughout the state.

All exams are multiple choice, with the only exception being the Wastewater - Unique (Subclass U) exam (subclass U), which is a short-answer exam completed on paper.

Each exam day has two three-hour sessions. You are allowed the full three hours to take as many exams as you want. If you are considering taking multiple exams in one session, please consider your own test-taking speed and the number of questions in each exam. You may also register for exams in both sessions.

Exam results letters are provided by mail to the mailing address provided on your application form. Results are mailed within 2-4 weeks of exam day.

Additional information, including study guides, can be found under each program's certification page. Tabs linking to each page can be found on the upper righthand side of the Exams page.

ADA & Hardship Requests

If an exam applicant requires ADA accommodations or any other legitimate, documented reason for being unable to complete an exam at a larger-group exam session, please contact the Operator Certification coordinator to request a one-person session at with the subject line "Hardship exam session request - [YOUR LAST NAME]".

Each exam day has two three-hour sessions beginning at 9am and 1pm. You are allowed the full three hours to take as many exams as you want. If you are considering taking multiple exams in one session, please consider your own test-taking speed and the number of questions in each exam.

  • Wastewater – General: 50 questions
  • Wastewater - Suspended Growth Processes: 50 questions
  • Wastewater - Attached-Growth Processes: 50 questions
  • Wastewater – Recirculating Media Filters: 25 questions
  • Wastewater – Ponds, Lagoons, and Natural Systems: 50 questions
  • Wastewater – Anaerobic Treatment of Liquid Waste: 25 questions
  • Wastewater – Solids Separation: 50 questions
  • Wastewater – Biological Solids/Sludge: 50 questions
  • Wastewater – Disinfection: 50 questions
  • Wastewater - Laboratory: 50 questions
  • Wastewater – Total Nitrogen: 25 questions
  • Wastewater – Total Phosphorus: 50 questions
  • Wastewater - Sanitary Sewer Collection System: 50 questions
  • Wastewater – Advanced: 100 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Distribution: 40 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Groundwater: 40 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Iron Removal: 40 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Lime Softening: 40 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Surface Water: 80 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – VOC Removal: 40 questions
  • Municipal Waterworks – Zeolite Softening: 40 questions
  • Small Water System – Water System General Operation: 40 questions
  • Septage – Septage Operator Grade L: 40 questions
  • Septage - Septage Operator Grade T: 40 questions
  • Septage – Septage Master Operator Grade L: 25 questions
  • Septage - Septage Master Operator Grade T: 40 questions
  • Solid Waste – Site Operator: 50 questions
  • Solid Waste - Facility Manager: 50 questions
  • Private Water - Pump Installer: 100 questions
  • Private Water - Water Well Driller: 100 questions
  • Private Water – Heat Exchange Driller: 80 questions

The Operator Certification program facilitates three exams for the Private Water section of the Drinking Water and Groundwater program:

  • Pump Installer
  • Water Well Driller
  • Heat Exchange Driller

Private Water Supply exams are "open code." Clean copies of NR 146, NR 811, and NR 812 are provided to exam registrants by Wisconsin DNR staff. Failure to follow these requirements will result in forfeiture of the scheduled exam and fees.

The reference code booklet will be provided for you on the day of the exam by department staff when checking in for your exam. Booklets will be returned to department staff when turning in the exam.

Pump Installer Applicants

Pump Installer exam applicants can submit a DNR exam application and fee via mail as desired. Applications can be under the "Exam Applications" tab.

Driller Applicants

Water Well Driller and Heat Exchange Driller exam applicants must request an application by emailing After eligibility review and approval, the exam application will be provided to the applicant for completion and submittal via mail.

Exam Application

How long does the application process take once I mail my exam application?

The application process can take 2-3 weeks, from the day you put your exam application form and fee in the mail to the day you receive your exam confirmation letter in the mail. If your exam application is submitted to DNR incorrectly it will be returned to you by mail with requests for how to correct the item(s) and resubmit the application form.

How should I list my name on the exam application?

Your name should be an exact match to the photo ID you will be providing to Wisconsin DNR staff on exam day.

What information is required on the exam application form?

The required fields on your exam application form section 1 are bolded and underlined. These include full name as it appears on your photo ID, mailing address, email address, work phone, and cell/home phone. You must also submit your Social Security number on page 3. For Municipal Waterworks or Small Water System (OTM/NN) exams, a signature and date certifying the possession of a high school diploma or GED is also required.

Why is my Social Security number required?

Wisconsin State Statutes 299.08(1), 29.024(2r)(a), and 299.07(1) require that the Operator Certification program submit an exam applicant or certified operator's Social Security number to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Department of Workforce Development to ensure that the exam applicant or operator does not have any outstanding taxes or child support payments. Your Social Security number is securely stored and any documentation with your submitted number is either redacted or destroyed. Based on these state statutes, an exam applicant cannot receive exam scores, apply exam results, or renew their certification if they do not provide their Social Security number. Any exam results or certification renewal will be withheld or will not be processed until the information is provided. If you submit an exam application without your Social Security number it will be returned to you by mail with request to provide the number accordingly.

How do I request a receipt for payment of my DNR exam fees?

Receipt for DNR payment can be requested by emailing with a subject line of DNR Exam Fee Receipt Request - [Last Name]. Please include your full name, your DNR certification number if you know it, and the DNR exam fee amount you paid. The Operator Certification program will provide a PDF receipt via email.

Exam Day

When should I arrive for my exam?

Exam session check-in and instructions begin 15 minutes before the session start time. Wisconsin DNR staff recommend arriving at your testing location a minimum of 15 minutes before the start of your exam session.

What should I bring with me for exam day?

Exam takers should bring photo ID (ex. driver's license), #2 pencil, and a basic calculator. You may not use your cell phone as a calculator. You may also have a beverage during the exam. You do not need to bring or present your exam confirmation letter.

All municipal waterworks, small water system (OTM/NN), wastewater, landfill, and septage exams are closed book exams. Any exam study materials may not be used during the exam.

All pump installer, water well driller, and heat exchange driller exams are open code exams. Clean, unmarked copies of NR 146, NR 811, and NR 812 are provided to exam registrants by the Wisconsin DNR staff. These codes will be returned to Wisconsin DNR staff when turning in your exam.

When will my exam results be processed by the DNR?

The Operator Certification program will process your exam results and mail exam results letters within 2-4 weeks of your exam date.

Retaking an Exam

How do I retake an exam that I did not pass?

To retake an exam please resubmit an exam application form and fee to register for an upcoming exam session.

All 2024 exam dates and locations are listed in the table above and are available on each exam application form.

Exam application forms and fees may only be submitted by mail and must be postmarked no later than four weeks prior to the requested exam date.

Exam application fees can be paid for by check, money order, or cash. Please write all checks to "Wisconsin DNR". Submit completed exam application and fee(s) to the mailing address below. The Operator Certification program will review and process complete applications within 10 business days of receipt.

Wisconsin DNR
Operator Certification EA/7
PO Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921

Upon receipt, approval, and processing of your exam application, the Operator Certification program will mail you an exam confirmation letter noting the address of the exam location and what to bring on exam day.

Renew Online

You can now renew your wastewater, municipal waterworks, and small water system certifications online through the Environmental Licensing and Certification Online Renewal Portal.